Weeknotes 131; ai-art and artists

Hi all! Thanks for subscribing to my newsletter (if not, check this), happy to share the observations of last week again!

Do I want to talk on Clubhouse again I’m wondering? It is still interesting to follow the developments. There is something strange happening with Clubhouse; the first people to embrace this new social platform are not teenagers or young adults, but it adapted with all ages and even more maybe with a bit more mature users. And it got adapted really quick by ‘the old media’ and entertainment people to have conversations, share the gossip. I am not speculating why that is, this deserves a better analysis. One of the research questions could be if this is related to a broader maturing of digital media as part of our -locked downed- lives? Or is it about the low barriers in audio-chatting?

Ben Thompson had a good analysis on the inevitability of Clubhouse last week. Worth reading. And it made me think about the need and power of the ephemeral stage of a new social medium. Do we need that to build trust, even in a so clearly not-to-trusted company as Clubhouse looks like to be… The first place to start often is to check if there is any academic writing on ephemeral trust as a concept. I did not dive into it, researching new social media is not really my focus at the moment. I would definitely connect it to the concept of disposable identities of Rob van Kranenburg. As he responded to my tweet it is hard to connect this to Clubhouse though with all its possible collecting of not-so-disposable voice-identities

Shift to another news. From the Cities of Things-lab; I am happy to have two news students joining with graduation projects; on the design of engaging cultural specific digital assistants in future mobility systems (working title), and the other looking into the relationship with a robot vacuum with predictive knowledge. I also started looking a bit more into the relation of Digital Twins and Cities of Things, more to follow up soon I hope.

I participated in a couple of sessions last week; the Cross Media Café on Synthetic Media, AITech Agora, Sensemakers AMS on business transformations (half of it), IoT Ghent, and Uncertainty Cocktails by Changeist. With most of them, I fell into the online meetup-trap of getting distracted by other things… I still think it is a good chance to pick up one or two inspirational insights, so I will keep doing this; check the end of this newsletter for this week.

On to the news!

Living together with the robots…,
a returning theme.
Will robots make good friends? Scientists are already starting to find out
This question is popping up more and more an indication of a shift in how we need to perceive robots. Here in the West, I have to add right away as I think in Japan this is not a question anymore… “Robots and humans can be friends – but not in a way that would win Aristotle’s approval.”
theconversation.com  •  Share
This new Tokyo cafe will have robot waiters controlled remotely by disabled workers
This is opening up an interesting discussion on the positioning of human extensions through robots… “Opening in Nihonbashi in June, Dawn Avatar Robot Cafe is looking to create a barrier-free and inclusive Tokyo”
www.timeout.com  •  Share
Ai-Da, the First Robot Artist To Exhibit Herself
The next phase of digital art is AI-art… “As a critic of modern life and technology, Ai-Da can draw thanks to artificial intelligence”.
www.entrepreneur.com  •  Share
Fabricating fully functional drones
“A group from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) recently developed a new system to print functional, custom-made devices and robots, without human intervention. Their single system uses a three-ingredient recipe that lets users create structural geometry, print traces, and assemble electronic components like sensors and actuators.”
news.mit.edu  •  Share
And some research and regulation
Responsible Robotics and Responsibility Attribution
Interesting article by Aimee van Wynsberghe on responsible robotics. I think that it is a logical consequence of having robotics mixed with AI features going beyond automated helpers… “(…) we need responsible robotics. Responsible robotics is a term that has recently come into vogue, yet an understanding of what responsible robotics means is still in development.”
link.springer.com  •  Share
Mobile Robot Standard R15.08-1-2020
Formulating standards form human-robot encounters, more weak signalling.
www.robotics.org  •  Share
Dominating the framework of robot-realities
Verizon enters into agreement to acquire autonomous mobile robot software company
“This acquisition will expand Verizon’s robotic capabilities to power the future of robotic automation for enterprise customers”
www.globenewswire.com  •  Share
‘The future of the art market’: Christie’s to become first major auction house to sell a standalone NFT work of art
What will happen with this development towards digital unique art based on BC? “With investors such as Elon Musk and Chamath Palihapitiya backing the purely digital art form, the trade is beginning to take notice.”
www.theartnewspaper.com  •  Share
Tesla’s data advantage. Can Apple, or others, keep up?
I expect this an interesting long read on data positions in the future of autonomous mobility. I think that the strategy of Tesla and Google building a digital twin of the world aimed at being able to steer vehicles through it. I think that Apple is not per se not building this position with its map-services and adding AR now. It is all part of the long-play on the next framework, the digital-physical world… “This is a long post. Short version: Tesla is way ahead on data collection and is pulling further ahead every day.”
scobleizer.blog  •  Share
What about AI?
Touching the future
I shared a video of a presentation by Genevieve Bell a couple of months ago, and this essay is in line with that. So very interesting. “Now, we need to make a different kind of story about the future. One that focuses not just on the technologies, but on the systems in which these technologies will reside. The opportunity to focus on a future that holds those systems – and also on a way of approaching them in the present – feels both immense and acute.”
www.griffithreview.com  •  Share
5 things on our data and AI radar for 2021
Nice radar that mixes tech and context strategies for data and AI…
www.oreilly.com  •  Share
Google fires second AI ethics researcher following internal investigation
I have not deeply followed this, but from the relation of ethic-boards and big tech can be valued as troublesome… This is a pity of course as it is rather an important topic to tackle.
www.theverge.com  •  Share
Some good old IoT
Cisco, AWS integrate IoT, edge network software and services
It has been a bit quiet on the Edge-computing news here, but apparently still going strong in development, scaling up to the big IT… “Cisco ties its Edge Intelligence software with AWS IOT Core service to control industrial-edge networking.”
www.networkworld.com  •  Share
Signify performs a real-world IoT scalability test with Cloud IoT Core
For those interested in the tech stacks of IoT devices; Signify choses Google Cloud (iso AWS I can imagine)
cloud.google.com  •  Share
And closing, on this and the next big thing
Japan is developing touchless, hologram-like controls for its high-tech toilets
This makes sense; the weak point in transmitting the virus can be the public touchpoints we share…
www.designboom.com  •  Share
Book Review: ‘How to Avoid a Climate Change Disaster,’ by Bill Gates
For those curious to read what Gates has to say about solving climate change, with this opening sentence I did not expect a positive review “First things first — much respect to Bill Gates for his membership in the select club of ultrabillionaires not actively attempting to flee Earth and colonize Mars.”
www.nytimes.com  •  Share
A movement to green the web
#LetsGreentheWeb sounds like a campaign the might be more actionable and less underwhelming than the book of Gates?
michellethorne.cc  •  Share

That was it for this week. I leave you with some possible meetups to join. DLD is a big conference every year around this time. Focusing on getting big names of tech in panels and asking a lot of entrance fee to be able to network. Not my type of conference, but I might take a look today or tomorrow at DLD All Stars I got invited to. Rem Koolhaas and Kara Swisher at one place…

On Wednesday there is an Interaction21 Redux organized by IxDA London, now also easy to visit. Parallel with a session by The Hmm, something I still need to check out.

See you next week

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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